Cardinals spoil Bijan Robinson’s homecoming

GLENDALE, Ariz. – The Falcons ran their offense through rookie running back Bijan Robinson in the 25-23 loss to the Cardinals on Sunday at State Farm Stadium.

Robinson had a career-high 22 carries for 95 yards and a rushing touchdown, the second of his professional career. He averaged 4.3 yards per carry and had a long run of 17 yards.

“That’s why we took him and he’s a dynamic player,” Falcons coach Arthur Smith said. “He bounced that one outside for a touchdown. He did a lot of things. They were trying to take away certain things so we moved him all over the place…. he did a great job.”

Robinson, who is a native of Tucson, Arizona who starred at Salpointe High, was playing in front of family and friends.

“I just wanted to show them the Arizona kid that they’ve been watching since high school is still playing now trying to represent for them,” Robinson said.

After the game he went and greeted his family and friends.

“It was awesome,” Robinson said. “So awesome. Just seeing all the people who came here and supported me. (Some of them) have been supporting me my whole life. It was definitely a blessing to play in front of them. At the end of the game, I tried to give them all high-fives or whatever I could to show my appreciation.”

Robinson scored a 5-yard touchdown run around right end in the second quarter to put the Falcons up 14-6.

Robinson’s previous high in carries was 19 against Green Bay, when he rushed for a career-high 124 yards. That game was the second one of the season back on Sept. 17.

Robinson was fine with the workload against the Cardinals.

“I was good, just whatever I needed to do for the team to try to get a win,” Robinson said. “I felt good. I feel good now, but that doesn’t matter if you don’t win the game. You try to do the best you can for the offense. Whether if it’s the run-game or the pass-game. You have to be good in both. Obviously, you want to pull something out and get a win.”

Robinson is having a solid rookie season. He has 125 carries for 612 yards and two touchdowns. He’s also caught 29 passes for 208 yards and two touchdowns.

He’s on pace for 1,394 total yards.

Robinson plans to do some studying over the bye week.

“We’re going through a long season,” Robinson said. “I want to get better in the little things. Like watching film and seeing all my runs from this year. Seeing all of my pass-catching from this year. Just seeing what I can get better at for this second half of the season.”

The Falcons were three of four in the red zone against the Cardinals. They are now 17 of 32 on the season, which is 53.1 percent. The top teams normally are in the high 60 percentile range.

“For me, like as a rookie, I’m never trying to get comfortable,” Robinson said. “It’s easy to get comfortable over the bye week. Just sit back and relax, but you want to get a couple of days in, to just kind of do nothing and get back to work.”

The offense needs to improve when they come back from the bye week.

“Especially now for me, just being a competitor for this team, I want to do whatever I can to get that edge for the second half,” Robinson said.

Running back Tyler Allgeier rushed nine times for 31 yards and Cordarrelle Patterson rushed three times for 13 yards to help supplement Robinson’s efforts.

“We’ll look at everything,” Smith said. “We’ll look at everything that we are doing. You’ve got to make adjustments. We have seven games left.”

The Falcons know that Robinson could help them stop their skid.

”All you can do is be a pro and try to fix things,” left tackle Jake Matthews said. “Just find a way to get back on the winning track which is what we have been trying to do. Obviously, it hasn’t been enough. We have to fix it.”

The Falcons plan to so some soul-searching over the bye week.

”The only way I have ever known is by being really honest with yourself,” Matthews said. “Find things to improve on and working on them during the week. Bringing something extra during the week. Being a pro. There is no match or formula. It is just going to work and finding a way to do your job.”

The offense wasted another defensive turnover after getting the ball at the 14. They couldn’t move and had to settle for a field goal.

The Falcons also were stuffed on a fourth down-and-1.

”We were moving the ball pretty well,” Matthews said. “We didn’t get it done. We have to check on film and watch as a group and fix it. Just came up a little short.”

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